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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome | So Much More Than a Case of the Tireds

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

“Dang, I’m cashed. But it’s more than that. I mean, I’m thinking major depressive disorder, stress overload, fibromyalgia – hey, I really don’t know what I think anymore. Bottom-line: I just don’t understand what’s going on, and I’m upset. Help?!”

I posted an article on chronic fatigue syndrome here on Chipur three years ago. Since that time, it’s become an issue for several of my clients, and more has been learned about it. Sooo, I’d like to revisit the topic. What you’re gonna’ get is a dust-up of the original piece, followed by a link to the latest info from the University of Maryland Medical Center. Tons of vital information you won’t want to miss.

Let’s roll (up our sleeves)…

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome | All-Abouts

Should you suspect you have CFS, get to a physician as soon as possible. If you, indeed, have it your chances of managing it well, or remission, are greater. If it isn’t CFS, early diagnosis and treatment are equally as important.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a mysterious load of misery. It’s characterized by extreme fatigue that’s often exacerbated by physical, emotional, and mental activity. And the problem is – it doesn’t resolve with rest.

Symptoms of CFS may peak and stabilize early in its presentation – then come and go over time. Complete recovery is a possibility; however, many sufferers get progressively worse.

Should you suspect you have CFS, get to a physician as soon as possible. If you, indeed, have it your chances of managing it well, or remission, are greater. If it isn’t CFS, early diagnosis and treatment are equally as important.

“What does CFS look like?”

The signs and symptoms of CFS are all over the board, and there’s no detectable pattern. Here are its primary symptoms…

  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Mildly enlarged and painful lymph nodes in the neck and armpits
  • Muscle pain with no explanation
  • Pain that moves from one joint to another with no swelling or redness
  • Headache – a new type, severity, or pattern
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Over-the-top exhaustion lasting for more than 24 hours after physical, emotional, or mental exercise

Other common signs and symptoms…

Chest pain, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dizziness and balance issues, chronic cough, allergies or sensitivities to foods and other stimuli, bloating, shortness of breath, weight loss/gain, visual disturbances, morning stiffness, chills/night sweats, irregular heartbeat, depression, irritability, anxiety, panic, and more.

“Who’s more likely to get it?”

Sorry, ladies. Although gender isn’t a proven risk factor, the record shows you’re at least four times more likely to get CFS than us guys. But that may actually be a good thing – it may be because you’re more apt to report symptoms and seek treatment.

Though CFS can present at any age, it’s more likely to strike those in their 40s and 50s.

“What causes CFS, anyway?”

No one really knows. But here are a few ideas…

  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Impaired cellular metabolism
  • Depression
  • Viral infection
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Hypoglycemia
  • An autoimmune process
  • History of allergies
  • Changes in levels of hormones generated by the activity of the HPA axis (I’m thinking especially cortisol)

“Is there a test?”

Unfortunately, there’s no test for CFS. And that means a diagnosis is grounded in signs, symptoms, and exclusion. So it’s all about rule-outs, and the biggies are…

Hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, depression, eating disorders, a relapse of a previously treated illness, substance use problems, and severe obesity (BMI: 40+).

“How is it treated?”

There’s no specific treatment for CFS. So that means physicians and counselors typically recommend a combination of strategies and techniques to manage symptoms. These may include…

  • Slow down! Learn to moderate physical, mental, and emotional stress
  • Counseling – especially cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to address stress management, depression, anxiety, and thought management
  • The gradual onset of an exercise program – if you already have one, adjustments may have to be made
  • Make sure those lifestyle habits are healthy
  • Treat the symptoms and associated disorders – depression, physical pain, sleep issues, allergy-like symptoms, hypotension, neurological issues (dizziness, balance issues, skin tenderness, etc.)
  • D-ribose supplements
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage, stretching, yoga, meditation, tai chi, breathing and relaxation exercises

The following experimental treatments for CFS are being studied…

  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, etc.): An amphetamine, which has shown promise in decreasing fatigue and improving concentration. It’s used to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Corticosteroids (hydrocortisone)
  • Immune globulins and interferons: Used to improve the immune system’s ability to fight infection.
  • Cholinesterase inhibitors: These drugs improve the effectiveness of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is believed to be important for memory, thought, and judgment.
  • Be sure to tap the link below for more.

It’s a Wrap

So there you have it, a thumbnail on chronic fatigue syndrome – so much more than a case of the tireds. Just enough information to lend a hand in identifying a potential problem.

But we’re not finished yet. Here’s that link to the University of Maryland Medical Center I promised. Excellent and current material, well worth the read.

Tons more Chipur articles where this baby came from. Dig in, k?